Cy­ber­se­cu­rity team from Coast Union is Cal­i­for­nia May­ors Cy­ber Cup vic­tor

The Tribune (SLO) - - The Cambrian | Local - BY KATHE TAN­NER ktan­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Coast Union High School’s cy­ber­se­cu­rity team struck gold Satur­day in the Cal­i­for­nia May­ors Cy­ber Cup.

Coast Union outscored 32 other re­gional high schools to qual­ify for the Cal­i­for­nia Cy­ber In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge in June at Cal Poly – which tests teams on a “foren­sics and net­work­ing chal­lenge” of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies over a two-day pe­riod.

Coast Union’s team of Luis Plas­cen­cia, Trent Fer­gu­son, Caiden Kennedy, Jonathan Jewel and Fer­nando Sepul­veda outscored high schools from the coun­ties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Bar­bara, Ven­tura and North­ern Los An­ge­les.

Henry Daniel­son, di­rec­tor of tech­nol­ogy for Coast Uni­fied School Dis­trict, noted that the Cam­bria cam­pus “is the only lo­cal high school that com­peted in the Cal­i­for­nia May­ors Cy­ber Cup. We are so proud of our stu­dents. CUHS is pre­par­ing a small amount of stu­dents to be the next gen­er­a­tion cy­ber-pro­tec­tion team.”

“I’m so pas­sion­ate about get­ting young peo­ple into these cy­ber ca- reers,” Daniel­son, who men­tors the team, added.

The win is “a pretty huge ac­com­plish­ment,” said Ayen John­son, cy­ber coach and in­struc­tor at Coast Union and Santa Lu­cia Mid­dle School. The team’s work was con­ducted re­motely from John­son’s class­room.

John­son’s team was con­fronted with — and asked to thwart — re­mote users at­tempt­ing to de­crypt pass­words. They also had to scan for mal­ware and viruses, turn off ports that were open to unau­tho­rized users, solve puz­zles and ci­phers; and find hid­den files that were en­crypted in bi­nary (Base64 or hashes).

Coast Union is of­fer­ing the cy­ber­se­cu­rity stu­dents a chance to gain ex­per­tise on ways to com­bat hack­ers and other crim­i­nals who at­tack com­put­ers and servers and in­vade the pri­vacy of dig­i­tal users.

Daniel­son said that, in ac­cor­dance with Cy­ber Cup cus­tom, he hopes the win­ning team soon will be able to present the cup tro­phy to Cam­bria’s honorary mayor Kim Mas­ton, to be dis­played in town un­til next year’s com­pe­ti­tion win­ner is de­ter­mined. And who knows, he said with a chuckle, “maybe they’ll get to keep it for an­other year.”

Cam­brian con­trib­u­tor John FitzRan­dolph con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Photo cour­tesy of Ayen John­son

Coast Union’s cy­ber­se­cu­rity team scored higher than 31 other high school teams in the Cal­i­for­nia May­ors Cy­ber Cup com­pe­ti­tion. From left: Jonathan Jewel, Trent Fer­gu­son, Caiden Kennedy and Luis Plas­cen­cia. Fer­nando Sepul­veda is not pic­tured.

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